Are you considering homeschooling an only child? That's what we're discussing this week! We've discussed the advantages and the challenges. Today we're going to look at socialization and homeschooling an only child.
Socialization and homeschooling an only child
I know there are some who would think that of all homeschooling families, this is the one type of situation where you would want to put your child in a public or private school situation. After all, they need to learn social skills somewhere, right?
Well, I believe social skills are actually better learned FROM the family, not some random group of age-related peers. The primary definition for the word 'socialization' is the act of passing on our culture and beliefs to our children, something that is much more important than time spent socializing.
Making time for social opportunities
Learning to be social and spending time with friends is also important and something that those with only children need to be more intentional about. Only children need to acquire the skills that other children with siblings acquire naturally. They need to learn respect for others and their property, sharing, and cooperation. This is certainly something that is easier to do with siblings!
Homeschool families need to create opportunities for their kids to learn these skills. Here are a few ways to foster those social experiences:
- Find other homeschool families with only children
- Playdates with friends (great way for mom to get some quiet time!)
- Join clubs or homeschool co-ops
- Volunteer as a family
Family still comes first
Children will reach an age where they will want to have lots of friends. That's completely natural (even for kids with many siblings) but that doesn't mean you need to ship them off to public or private school the moment they express that feeling.
If anything, it's more important to make sure those family ties are even stronger. The family should be the center of your child's world, not their friends or social connections.
It's easy for homeschooling moms to feel guilty when their kids reach this age and believe that they are missing out on all those social experiences. Don't fall for that guilt. Friendships are important and need to be cultivated, but certainly not at the expense of your child's education or family attachments.
I highly recommend the book (that's an affiliate link -->) Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld. It explains the importance of family relationships and why you want to keep that first in your child's life.
What experiences can you share about socialization and homeschooling an only child?